One in 12 older Canadians are forced to do without taking prescribed medication because they can’t afford them, according to a new analysis that highlights gaps created by the lack of universal drug coverage.
Nearly nine in ten (89%) adults 65 and older report they are currently taking any prescription medicine. This compares to three-fourths of 50-64 year olds who report taking prescription drugs, half (51%) of 30-49 year olds, and four in ten (38%) 18-29 year olds.
Approximately 20 per cent of Canadians have inadequate drug coverage or no coverage at all and must pay out of pocket. A recent study found almost 1 million Canadians had cut their household spending on food and heat to pay for medication.
Researchers estimate that 25 percent of people ages 65 to 69 take at least five prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions, a figure that jumps to nearly 46 percent for those between 70 and 79.
Over half of Canadian adults aged 18 to 79 have used at least one prescription medication in the past month. New results show that 55% of adults aged 18 to 79 used at least one prescription medication in the past month, while 36% used two or more, and 24% used three or more.
Almost 90% of older adults regularly take at least 1 prescription drug, almost 80% regularly take at least 2 prescription drugs, and 36% regularly take at least 5 different prescription drugs. When over-the-counter and dietary supplements are included, these rates are even higher.
The statistics on medication usage among elderly patients in the US are eye-opening: more than one-third of prescriptions drugs used in the US are taken by elderly patients; the ambulatory elderly fill between 9-13 prescriptions a year (including new prescriptions and refills); the average elderly patient is taking
Under the Canada Health Act, prescription drugs administered in Canadian hospitals are provided at no cost to the patient. Outside of the hospital setting, provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the administration of their own publicly-funded drug plans.
Drugs cost $1,086 per Canadian when averaged across the population, making up 16.4 per cent of total health costs. Physician costs round out the top three spending drivers, at 15.4 per cent per Canadian, or $1,014 per person.
In fact, 7.5 million Canadians have insufficient or no coverage. Recent polling shows that people in Canada support a national pharmacare program, with 93% saying equal access for all is important.
Older adults can live stronger, longer by carefully following their doctor’s and pharmacist’s instructions regarding medications. People age 65 and older make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 34 percent of all prescription medication use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use.
More than 40 percent of older Americans regularly take five or more prescription drugs, and nearly 20 percent take 10 or more, according to a 2020 report from the nonpartisan think tank Lown Institute.
Research shows that the average older adult takes four or more prescription drugs each day, but a whopping 39 percent of seniors take five or more prescriptions each day. While each one was created to treat or manage a specific medical problem, each also comes with its own risks and side effects.
Results: Overall, 5.8% of Canadians were taking antidepressants, higher than the annual prevalence of major depressive episode (4.8%) in the survey. Among persons with a past-year major depressive episode, the frequency of antidepressant use was 40.4%.
This statistic depicts the average number of prescriptions filled yearly by Canadians who were prescribed medications as of 2018, by age. According to the source, those 65 years and older filled approximately 8.3 prescriptions per year. Comparatively those aged 18-24 years only filled 5.4 prescriptions per year.